Islamabad : Chairman Prime Minister's Task Force for Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman said that high-rise buildings of universities do not matter but better results are achieved only with intelligent minds and highly qualified faculty. The contribution of the private sector needs to be appreciated in the higher education sector.
He was addressing a ceremony organised by the Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP) at Islamabad Club. The event was attended by Executive Director Higher Education Commission Dr. Shaista Sohail, Chairman APSUP Prof. Dr. Ch. Abdul Rehman and executive committee members of central and regional chapters of APSUP.
“Provision of equal funds to private and public universities would be ensured. The country is being harmed by the separation of public and private sector universities. The role of private sector Universities in the development of the country is remarkable,” he added.
Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman underlined the need for an Open Distance Learning (ODL) education system and said that ODL programmes for Bachelors and Masters will be allowed in all universities.
Dr Atta also briefed on ways and means and strategies to promote a technology-driven economy with enhanced allocations to higher education, technical skills development of the human resources, promotion of digitalisation, promotion of AI (Artificial Intelligence) education and skills.
He also informed about recent development in the higher education sector of Pakistan including the National Education Emergency, Dual Degree Policy, Distance Education Policy, University-Industry Interaction Policy, and HEC Scholarship programme of Rs13 billion. He suggested the HEC to establish a cell within its secretariat to resolve students’ issues in order to facilitate them.
“There has been a 60 percent increase in the development budget of Ministry of Science and Technology as a result of our Knowledge Economy Task Force Projects”. He said we have established some groups of our Pakistanis friends in the world’s best universities of the United Kingdom and with their cooperation, we are working on some projects to raise the quality and standard of education in Pakistan. To a question, Dr Atta assured that he would write a letter to the senior officials of the State Bank of Pakistan for facilitation to the students of private sector universities to get soft loans for higher education studies. The HEC's job is to facilitate the universities respecting their autonomy and charters as per its Act.